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Primary Care: Going To Your Doctor

Primary care is the first point of contact in the health care system

We would always suggest that you make an appointment with your doctor if you think you have an eating disorder or are worried about your relationship with food, your body image or your exercise habits.

What will happen at my appointment?

When you meet your GP (general practitioner): this may involve chatting with them about your eating habits, being weighed and having a blood test so that they can check your physical health. Try not to worry about this; they need to weigh you to monitor your health and to decide what type of treatment is best for you. They will start a care plan and assess your health risk.

They will recommend what the best course of action is to take. Doctors should offer you some kind of help such as counselling or support with whatever is causing you to feel unhappy. This may also include guided self-help, which is sometimes recommended to patients with bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder.

Ideally the treatment and care you receive will depend upon the diagnosis you are given by the doctor. The doctor might suggest that they would like you to receive regular appointments with themselves or a nurse for a while to assess how your health progresses. They might suggest that you have some counselling sessions to help you to resolve the underlying emotions of your eating problem.

The choice of treatment should be collaborative, meaning that your input and preference is a key consideration for the kind of treatment you receive.

Changing your doctor

If you need help and you aren't getting this from your current doctor you can change your doctor.

You can change your doctor within the practice you usually attend, or you can also change your surgery. If the surgery you wish to change to is accepting new patients, you can call them and ask to fill out a registration form.

To find out the contact details of medical practices in your area you can search for services on the NHS Choices website.

The first doctor I saw didn't understand eating disorders very well and was insensitive about my illness. I'm so glad I changed to a new GP who treated me as a person, not a statistic.